By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

The second of two public input meetings related to the proposed update of the zoning overlay district for the Buckhead Village drew seven times the number of stakeholders Oct. 23 as the first meeting a few weeks earlier and produced a livelier discussion from property owners and developers working in the area.

Scotty Greene, the executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID), which is co-sponsoring the study with the Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association (BATMA), said the 42 participants represented “the largest and most diverse group of Buckhead stakeholders that has been at a planning meeting since 2001.”

The first meeting drew six stakeholders.

The update is designed “to define the character of future redevelopment and potentially help resolve collective issues like parking and stormwater management” in the area of Buckhead commonly referred to as the “village,” said Denise Starling, BATMA’s executive director, who is overseeing the study.

The second public meeting took the broad concepts discussed at the first meeting regarding expansion of the SPI-9 (Special Public Interest) overlay for the area and addressed specific improvements.

Among the things laid out for those attending the two-hour meeting at the Atlanta International School were requirements for sidewalk widths, lighting, clear zones, tree spacing, curb cuts and facade treatments, as well as more aggressive options, such as LEED environmental certification, the transfer of development rights and interparcel access requirements.

Greene said there are no plans to change the underlying zoning. He said the study is looking at “how to take the existing zoning map to get better density where appropriate. The idea is to work on the fabric of what Buckhead should be and how it should develop.”

But Greene, along with the consultants working on the study, emphasized that “everything is on the table. Nothing has been determined.”

The SPI-9 overlay covers the area bordered by Peachtree and Pharr roads and Grandview Street.

The idea is to expand the public space to the West Village area on the west, to Piedmont Road on the east and farther up the Peachtree Road corridor. It also would be expanded down to the Peach shopping center and would include the “Disco Kroger” shopping center on Piedmont Road.

The overlay is restricted to commercial properties. It does not affect residential areas.

The purpose is to provide incentives and flexibility to create a more balanced integration of the commercial properties within the district and a better transition from the commercial developments to the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

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